Aroab farmers make U-turn

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-Aroab small-scale farmers who have occupied farm Dickbusch since October last year, say they will not vacate the farm come Monday next week as they had initially promised.

Earlier media reports suggested most of the farmers were willing to vacate the farm before the due date of their eviction order of 27 February on Thursday next week, but the farmers have gone back on their word and now say they will not leave the farm.

The farmers have over the years applied for resettlement, and last year applied to be resettled as a group on farm Dickbusch, but their application was unsuccessful, which compelled them to illegally move onto the farm with their livestock.

Meanwhile, Nampa reported two units of the farm have since been allocated to Zikizee Mutenge from Omaheke and Ottilie Shidolo from Ohangwena respectively.

After declaring last week they might vacate the farm voluntarily, the farmers have reversed their decision, and now say they will stay put until an amicable solution is found for them.

Speaking to the group’s spokesperson, Gertjie Witbooi, telephonically he indicated the farmers would not vacate the area until they received assurances from the relevant authorities that government will give favourable consideration to resettling them on farm Witpan.

“We will not move if they don’t give us guarantees and assurances that we will be considered favourably for resettlement at farm Witpan,” he said.

He said the relevant authorities had not taken them seriously, and accused them of not doing enough to assist the farmers.

He further noted that no one ever responded to the petition they handed in to the councillor last year.

Furthermore, he stated forcefully that removing the farmers would be illegal as no one had served them with an eviction order.

They only received verbal instruction from the deputy director of land reform in the //Kharas region, Albertus Engelbrecht, which he said they would not comply with.

Witbooi said Engelbrecht verbally asked them to vacate the farm on or before the 27 February, and that failure to do so would result in their forceful eviction, but the farmers say they will not budge.

“We didn’t get any notice; the only notice we got was last year November and it has lapsed, so they don’t have the right to evict us because that would be illegal,” he noted.
The newspaper could not reach Engelbrecht for comment because his mobile was unreachable

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